by Joseph DeMaio, ©2021
(Apr. 15, 2021) — When there is an objection from the leftists and Democrats that state laws requiring the removal of the names of deceased former registered voters from the rolls of still alive, eligible and otherwise qualified voters somehow constitutes “voter suppression,” you know or should know – unless you are a brain-dead liberal zombie – that something is wrong. As in really wrong.
The enactment in Georgia of its new voter and election integrity law – S.B. 202 – has sent liberals and congressional Democrats into an apoplectic fit. To that point, would the bursting of a blood vessel in Nancy Pelosi’s brain really be a bad thing?
In addition, the continued resistance by Senators Joe Manchin (D. W. VA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D. AZ) to the elimination of the Senate filibuster, thus threatening passage of the “Permanent Domination of Federal Elections by Democrats Act,” H.R.1 and/or S. 1, has produced similar cerebral aneurisms in both Al Sharpton and Congressman James Clyburn (D. S.C.). They both need, in the vernacular, a couple of “chill pills.”
And the battle continues at the state level, too. By way of but one example, in Maricopa County, Arizona, there is pending an effort by the Arizona State Senate to examine and/or “audit” the ballots and certain suspected 2020 election “anomalies” in the county, the largest and most populous in Arizona. That effort, however, is now being resisted and attacked by the Democrats through their sympathetic organizations and attack law firms.
Specifically, lawyers with “The Protect Democracy Project” – said to have relationships with Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. and a fellow named George Soros – plus three additional Phoenix law firms, including…, wait for it…, wait for it…, the Phoenix office of Perkins Coie, LLP – sent a letter to four digital forensic analysis contractors which have been engaged by the Arizona Senate to perform the examination/audit.
To understate the text and tone of the letter, it is not one urging them to proceed apace and to discover the truth. For ease of reference, the letter will be hereafter referenced as simply the “4 Amigos Letter” or simply “the letter.”
Far from urging the contractors to go forth and reveal the truth, the letter instead seeks to warn them of the potential “downsides” – civil, criminal and financial – of proceeding with their efforts. The first paragraph of the letter warns, ominously, that certain tasks identified under the “Statement of Work” proposal offered by one of the contractors, “Cyber Ninjas,” are “tactics” which, as “explained” in the balance of the letter, purportedly “constitute illegal voter intimidation and might expose your companies to both civil and criminal penalties.”
There is no suggestion that the so-called “tactics” – in the context of the sentence, a pejorative deployment of the term – “might” or “may” violate the law. Instead, the categorical statement made is that the contemplated activities “constitute illegal voter intimidation,” as if a judicial determination already exists and the only things remaining are the sentencing to jail and payment of the Democrat lawyers’ attorneys’ fees. Really? Before accepting that conclusion at face value, it might be a good idea to examine the statement a bit more.
The letter also “demands” that the contractors, among other dictates, “immediately (1) cease any planned or ongoing violations of federal and state law, including but not limited to any conduct that may intimidate voters….”
Seriously? The contractors are commanded to “cease any planned or ongoing violations” of state or federal laws, including “any conduct that may intimidate voters….” Is the mere engagement of the contractors by the Senate of the Legislature of the State of Arizona, without more, enough to constitute “voter intimidation?” The letter suggests that it just may be, although common sense suggests the contrary.
Let us take a closer look at the situation, but fair advance warning: that which follows gets a bit convoluted and addresses “at the margins” linguistic alterations and “out of context” issues. Moreover, some readers may deem the issues too esoteric to matter.
Too bad: language and words are important. And remember what Mark Twain said: “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Furthermore, it does not take much linguistic chicanery – including the use of punctuation – to alter meanings in significant ways. For example, consider the shopworn comparisons of “The king said the queen is a fool” and “‘The king,’ said the queen, ‘is a fool.’”
Accordingly, faithful P&E readers may wish to have their favorite caffeinated beverage handy… your humble servant has sworn off Diet Coke® and now sips Diet Dr. Pepper® (Plano, TX). Ready? Let us begin.
First, Democrats and their allies have become very skilled at wordsmithing and manipulating language – for example, via ellipsis, misquotes and outright fabrication – altering words which others have uttered or used in, for example, statutes, official policy statements or judicial rulings. This is particularly true when they are seeking to support a particular claim or assertion fortifying their pre-determined narrative by referencing a judicial decision or some official document.
This “at the margins” phenomenon, of course, is familiar to P&E readers with regard to the “products” of the Congressional Research Service (“CRS”) and their “treatment” of the “natural born Citizen” status – or absence thereof – of one Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., as discussed here and here. It took only the ellipsis omission of a date in the Supreme Court’s 1939 Perkins v. Elg decision for the CRS to concoct the purported, but flawed, conclusion that Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. was (or is) a “natural born Citizen” under the Constitution, as discussed here.
Second, the 4 Amigos Letter utilizes this tactic in admonishing the contractors to behave themselves…, or be prepared for potential adverse consequences. As but one example of the linguistic tactics used, take a closer look at the text of the letter associated with footnote 10 (p. 3 of the letter). That text states: “As the Department of Justice has previously explained, one can violate federal voting rights law even when it is purportedly part of an effort to investigate election crimes and fraud. [fn. 10].” (Emphasis added).
The operative portion of the sentence, i.e., the second clause beginning “one can violate…,” comes not from a formal Justice Department policy statement or from a judicial decision articulating that policy. Instead, it comes from a 2-page 2016 press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama.
The press release is entitled “District Elections Officers Available Nov. 8  to Receive Complaints of Election Fraud or Voting Rights Abuses.” The first clause of the 4 Amigos’ Letter asserting that “[a]s the Department of Justice has previously explained….” is not part of the press release but is instead an attempt in the letter to portray the next clause as summarizing a broad policy set out elsewhere in the release.
Not so fast: prior to that portion of the press release relied upon by the 4 Amigos for the substantive policy statement (i.e., “… even when it is purportedly part of an effort to investigate election crimes and fraud. [fn. 10]”) is misleading – intentionally or not is for others to decide – because the antecedent examples listed in the press release all relate to election day prohibitions, not efforts five months later to further analyze and resolve doubts as to the integrity of the vote as is now taking place in Maricopa County.
Indeed, the full text of the paragraph in the 2016 press release from which the 4 Amigos Letter extracts its “quote” reads as follows: “Federal law protects against such crimes as intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input. It also contains special protections for the rights of voters and provides that they can vote free from acts that intimidate or harass them. For example, actions designed to interrupt or intimidate voters at polling places by questioning or challenging them, or by photographing or videotaping them under the pretext that these are actions to uncover illegal voting, may violate federal voting rights law. Further, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice.” (Emphasis added)
Plainly, the press release focuses on election day issues. Indeed, the first introductory paragraph of the release confirms that it addresses matters “in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming Nov. 8 general elections.” (Emphasis added)
The entire thrust of the press release thus boils down to a commitment by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama to accept and address election day complaints of election fraud and discrimination “at the polls…,” “while the polls are open…,” and “on election day.” In 2016, that day was Nov. 8, when Donald J. Trump defeated Hillary (“BleachBit-What-BleachBit?”) Clinton and was elected President.
This is not to say, of course, that other, post-election day acts – such as the Arizona Senate contractors’ current tasks – are wholly irrelevant. Not so. However, the point is that portrayal by the 4 Amigos Letter of the extracted partial quote therein – particularly as embellished in footnote 10 – as being the sine qua non thrust of the missive and purportedly “[a]s the Department of Justice has previously explained…” is manifestly misleading. On the other hand, that characteristic dovetails nicely into the overall intimidating tone of the letter.
Footnote 10 of the 4 Amigos Letter reads as follows: “10 See U.S. Att’y for N.D. Ala., District Elections Officers Available Nov. 8 to Receive Complaints of Election Fraud or Voting Rights Abuses (Oct. 21, 2016), available at https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndal/pr/district-elections officers-available-nov-8-receive-complaints-election-fraud-or-voting (observing that even “actions to uncover illegal voting . . . may violate federal voting rights law”).”
P&E reader alert: clicking on the link in the preceding paragraph may produce an error message, but that is what the actual text of the footnote states. In order to access online an image of the Oct. 21, 2016 press release, one must go here.
The reader signal “see” at the beginning of the footnote denotes that the following “authority” (here, a press release) is cited in direct support and confirmation of the immediately preceding associated textual statement. Thereafter, however, the footnote then manipulates a portion of the press release language and asserts in a parenthetical, out-of-context partial quote extracted from the release a conclusion not conveyed by the press release.
Specifically, that parenthetical, out-of-context “quote” is not what the press release says or intimates. Moreover, the “ellipsis” (the three dots between “voting” and “may” in the parenthetical) omits only a single comma. What is up with that? From a grammatical standpoint, it could signal that what was being omitted from the partial quote of the press release were the several examples of evils sought to be addressed on election day at the polls instead of 5 months later in a letter admonishing the Arizona Senate contractors to tread very, very carefully as they perform their tasks.
Whether or not additional components of the 4 Amigos Letter present the same species of “at the margins” wordsmithing is left for others to identify and address. Your humble servant lacks the patience and desire to further dissect the letter, but would offer the wisdom of an ancient legal maxim: “falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.” False in one thing, false in all things.
Moreover, if there is any intimidation to be found here, it lies within the 4 Amigos Letter, not the Senate contractors. In addition, apart from the potential for the contractors to contact persons directly or by phone, seen as “voter intimidation” by the letter, there would seem to be nothing to preclude them from, for example, doing a public service announcement via newspaper, television ad or news release that they are seeking voluntary responses from persons who are interested in removing any remaining doubt as to the legitimacy and accuracy of the 2020 general election vote in Maricopa County. If respondents voluntarily contacted the contractors and answered their questions, it cannot plausibly be argued that they were badgered, threatened or intimidated.
Stay tuned…, the saga in Maricopa County is not yet over.